It was April of this year when I first heard of TikTok.  It was in Austin. I was attending a market research conference, and a few of us were having breakfast with a client.

“Have you heard of this thing called TikTok?” the client asks us.

We all gave a collective, “Nope.  What the heck is that?”

He told us it was the “new thing” and to be prepared to get sucked in to hours of viewing videos by TikTok users, set to music.  Sounded interesting, so I downloaded the app, and watched the hours melt away. Swipe after swipe, video after video, I found myself hooked.

Fast-forward to today, my phone is TikTok free, but I am fascinated by the app, its users, the company behind it and the impact it’s making on the social networking landscape.

Here at Embee, we’re in a unique position to ask people questions.  We maintain a 100% mobile panel of ~150,000 US users. There are more details on our website.  Not only is it possible to survey our panelist about anything, we have the technology to measure their mobile behavior.

For the purposes of the study I conducted, I used our ResearchDesk™ application to launch a QuickPoll of 6 questions:

  1. Have you heard of TikTok?
  2. Do you currently use TikTok?
  3. If you use TikTok, how often?
  4. Would you stop using TikTok if it started posting ads?
  5. What is your favorite thing about TikTok?
  6. What other social media apps do you use?

Out of the 330 people who took the poll/survey – 75% have heard of TikTok.

Of that 75% (250 in total) – it was a 60/40 split; 60% who don’t use it and 40% who do use it

Graphic showing segmentation of panelists

For the users (100 in total)- we wanted to know, in general terms, how often they use it.

  • 23% use it at least once a month
  • 33% use it at least once a week
  • 24% use it at least once a day
  • 20% use it several times a day

For all users of TikTok, which is currently free of ads, I wanted to know if ads would impact usage.

  • 40% would continue using it if ads were present
  • 33% would “maybe” stop using it if ads were present
  • 27% would stop using it if ads we present

To gauge how TikTok usage relates to other social media apps, we asked what other apps they use.

  • 93% use Facebook
  • 69% use Instagram
  • 54% use SnapChat
  • 47% use Twitter
  • 28% user WhatsApp

What can we conclude from this so far?

Given that TikTok would still have a massive user base even if it introduced advertising, and we may soon see TikTok emerge as the next advertising powerhouse in mobile, alongside Facebook, Instagram, Google, and others.

Additionally, it would be interesting to further research whether increases in TikTok usage correlates to a reduction in usage of other popular apps; it wouldn’t be hard to imagine that someone’s use of Instagram or Facebook, for example, decreases as TikTok usage increases.

Sound like something you might be interested in? Reach out to us, and let us help you get the answer!